Some head-scratching Grammy presenters…

Don’t get me wrong, it was a GREAT show – one of the best in many years. But I ask you, what the HELL was Scarlett Johanson, who has never had a record in her brief life, doing presenting the BEST ALBUM award with Don Henley? What an insult to all the great artists and legends who were at the Grammys last night.
i-10612b6bd4a192193297b12103f9065c-ascarlette.jpgWhy not have Joan Baez, who looked amazing and is a legend, present with Henley? That REALLY annoyed me. Apparently she is about to record an album. She asked Henley if he had any advice for her. He said: “No.” And he seemed to mean it.
Then you had the strange presence of Al Gore presenting best ROCK album with Queen Latifah. I know he was initially scheduled to present with Mellisa Etheridge who wrote the song for his “An Inconvenient Truth” flick. But there was nothing really clever said to explain the former veep’s presence.
And what about the trio who presented Best Country Album? Mandy Moore. OK, fine, she’s a singer. LeAnn Rimes. Perfect. She’s a singer AND does Country songs. so far so good. Rounding out the threesome? LUKE WILSON? What the? I like Luke Wilson, don’t get me wrong. But he has no business presenting Grammys is all I’m saying.
And good God, what the heck was DAVID SPADE doing there? I know it’s a CBS telecast. I know Spade has a new sitcom on CBS. But this man has officially started to bug me. He has to 1. Get a haircxut. 2. Get a new schtick.
In a similar gripe, two cast members from CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” sitcom, Alyson Hannigan and Corie Smulders introduced Gnarls Barkley. I don’t get it. Were the producers sitting around thinking, “Hmmmmm. Who will introduce Gnarls Barkley? I got it! Alyson Hannigan! She’s perfect! No one else will do!”
Similarly, Christina Ricci (hugh? she doesn’t even have a CBS sitcom) and Samuel L. Jackson introducing the R&B segment featuring Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Chris Brown and an out-of-this-world Christina Aguilera.
I mean, if you’re going to have actors presenting, at least have some who have recorded an album. I got one! William Shatner! Oh yeah, wrong network. His “Boston Legal” airs on ABC.

Grammy wrap: backstage moments…

If there were any of you who were following my live blogging on the On the Red Carpet site last night, I lost all Internet connection backstage at the Grammys and was unable to blog during the last 40 minutes or so of the show. It was excrutiating! But I cheered up when some of the bigger names began coming into our interview room. I am now officially all about Mary J. Blige. Love, love LOVE her! Blige has that survivor thing going on that so many of us can identify with. “This has been an incredible night for me…it has been a personal breakthrough….You just strive to put your back up straight because you’re sick of slumping.” Great woman and amazing singer….
abennett.jpgTony Bennett, that ageless wonder, spent loads of time with us backstage talking about how he has always strived to make timeless music that would still be listenable 50 years from now. He! has certainly accomplished that. Tony is 80 years old, an amazing 80 years old, and talked about how finding something that you love in life and doing it, keeps you young. He is living proof. He is a living legend who now has 14 Grammys, the first won in the early 60s for “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
And, of course, who isn’t thrilled for The Dixie Chicks? For them to win five Grammys including album and record of the year was sweet vindication for the absolutely horrendous backlash they suffered through for daring to speak their minds in the United States of America. We waited an hour for them to come backstage and talk to us – which is partly why I’m so dead-tired today – and I left in frustration about 10:30 p.m. I said to my award show buddy Sandra Barrera: “I’m tired of waiting for the Pixie Stixs!” But here are some backstage comments from other artists on the Chicks win: John Mayer said “it was just almost an instant classic album…They were running from a lot of ghosts.”
aLudacris.jpgI also became a fan of Ludacris who last year, walked by me on the red carpet at the Oscars and I had no idea who he was. At the Grammys, he performed magically and backstage, he told us that he cut off his signature braids because he didn’t want to turn 30 next year with cornrows. He also did not hild back when describing what winning a Grammy (his first) for “Release Therapy” meant to him: “Today is pretty much the best day of my life…no words can explain how great I feel right now.”
Multiple winners The Red Hot Chili Peppers came backstage and were so friendly and fun. They were ready to take all the questions we had for them – and we had many – but this very annoying woman with an ugly gold lame coat and frazzled hair rushed them off the stage. This woman was a nightmare. I got to the press room about noon. By 1 p.m. she was on my nerves. By 2:30 p.m. I hated her. By the end of the night (10:30 p.m.), I was making a list of various ways to not exactly kill her, but maybe tie her up and stuff her in a closet so she could rethink her attitude…and her hairdo! Anyway, one of the Chili Peppers, Chad Smith the drummer, made a face at her behind her back and she saw him. Busted! Most peeps would laugh it off, but gold coat lady was incensed. I was convulsing in laughter. It was so third-grade…and so funny! When Chad walked back into the press room earlier, he looked around and said: “You guys are stuck back here the whole time? Why? Why? Were you bad in college?”

Smokey , Lionel and Christina sing…

Knock me over with a feather. Smokey Robinson has just sung “Tracks of My Tears” and it reminds me of why I love music…all the Motown records my big sister played in our house. It’s the soundtrack of my life and for Smokey to be able to go out there still looking and sounding so good, shows you that if you love what you do, it sure keeps you young! I’ll bet a lot of money helps too.
He was followed by Lionel Richie singing “Hello” and I have to say, his voice is as good as it ever was. Being at least a decade-plus younger than Smokey, he can still hit all the notes. I’d love to see a lot MORE of Lionel Richie and a lot LESS of his daughter, Nicole Richie. I liked her the most of all the young train wreck girls but she kinda lost me when she took drugs and drive on the wrong side of the 134 Freeway a few months back. That is just not cool.
OK, as I was going off on that tangent, a guy named Chris Brown has just sung “Run It” and gets a standing ovation but I’m not into it. But I can get into this: Christina Aguilara belting out “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” The girl is almost obscured by dry ice for a second but she sure has some serious pipes. She just hit a really high note that was kind of a scream and a music writer from the Tennessean sitting next to me just yelled out: “Yoko!”

Best New Artist winner: Carrie Underwood!

Minutes after singing a knockout version of “Desperado,” Carrie Underwood beat out James Blunt and others to take the best new artist award presented by Natalie Cole and Orenette Coleman. Underwood ran up to the stage and said, “This is absolutely unbelievable. I love country music!” She thanked her mom, she thanked her dad, she thanked “American Idol” producer Simon Fuller as well as producer Clive Davis and “anybody that had anything to do with this album and the blessed year I’ve had. Thank you so much.”

Dixie Chicks win Country album, quote The Simpsons…

You can’t blame the Dixie Chicks for being giddy over their Grammy wins tonight. They just won the Grammy for Best Country Album (“Taking the Long Way”) and Natalie took the mic and said: “To quote the great Simpsons: “He!He!” [ Big laugh in the audience and in the press room] “A lot of people just turned their TVs off right now, sorry about that.”
Doubt it. Too many folks have come to realize that not only do the Dixie Chicks have the absolute right to speak their minds, a lot of people probably agree with them now! Emily Robison added: “Our core fans always stood by us. We wouldn’t have done this album without everything we went through. So thank you…we have no regrets!”
John Mayer was just back here in the press room and said of the Dixie Chicks: “I’m really proud of them…it was almost an instant classic kind of album…They were running from a lot of ghosts…they just wrote great songs as the weapon.”

Dixie Chicks win song of the year!

Things are getting crazy here. The Dixie Chicks are winning the song of the year award on stage and the great Tony Bennett is back here in the press room holding court. He is this ageless wonder who is going on and on. Talking about the future, he indicated that he loves the the way KD Lang sings so maybe they will do another one of their wonderful duets.
Bennett’s impression of the Grammy telecast so far: “Sting really knocked it out of the park…”
So, The Dixie Chicks won their second Grammy of the night, song of the year for “Not Ready to Make Nice Yet.” Natalie Maines said: “For the first time in my life, I’m speechless!” Then she joked to her partners: “I told you I’d take you to the Grammys! …Stick with me!”

Thoughts on John Mayer, Timberlake and Enya…

John Mayer just won the Grammy for best pop vocal album. He sings swell but gives a dull acceptance speech. So this is the guy who is supposedly dating Jessica Simpson? Yes, she’s cute. But isn’t she kinda dumb? Like Judge Judy says: “Looks fade, but stupid is forever.”
Anyway, on to Timberlake. When he was performing “What Goes Around Comes Around,” there were all these weird close-ups of his face, like up his nose close-ups…can see the pores on the face close-ups. This was not such a good idea if ya ask me.
Just as an aside, Enya won a Grammy in the pre-show and came backstage and told us that this was the first time she had ever been to the Grammys to accept. Her third Grammy win was for best New Age album. Anyway, the thing is, she wasn’t in the convention center to accept the Grammy in person so I asked her: “WHERE WERE YOU?” She confessed: “I was actually on the red carpet…but the news was wonderful when I found out.”

The Blige express rolls on…

Mary J. Blige, nominated for five Grammys overall has already win three 45 minutes into the show. She just won her second of the telecast for best R&B female performance over a stellar field that included Mariah Carey and Natalie Cole among others. She acknowledged that “I’ve already thanked everyone I could possibly think of” but went on to talk about the peaks and valleys she has experienced in her life: “It’s in the valley when we learn who we really are…I want to use this success to build bridges, not to burn them.”.
Blige will do well to have a career with the longevity of Natalie Cole who may look barely a day over 35, the truth is she won the first of her truckload of Grammys way back in 1976 as best new artist. Keep it going Natalie…